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No. No. God, no! Not Billy Mays! Anyone but Billy Mays! Worse than taking him from us... You left us behind without him. Life is so cruel.

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All morning this morning was Billy Mays on my morning news. We've also lost, Carradine, Fawcett, Jackson, Gary Papa (phila newscaster), Ed McMann... and many others I can't think of....

MSNBC had an interesting interview with Jackson on last night... it was rather frightening, just how he spoke etc, and has haunted my dreams of late...

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Here is something I posted on Facebook called "Michael and Me."


Well, it was really Michael and a crew but I was there. Around 1989 I got hired on movie that documented the life, or lives as the title says, of the legendary music producer, Quincy Jones. If you don't know Q, you've either been living under a rock or you are much too young. Our assignment that day was to film an interview with Michael Jackson. The lighting set up was always the same, black Duvatene background. Two or three lights. The location was the world famous MGM studios. When I drove onto the lot, I expected to led to a typical sound stage but instead I was directed to the old offices where movies of the 30's and 40's were given the green lights, starlets were born and deals were made.


The building was sturdy and stood like a statue of an era gone by. It was badly in need of renovation which coincidentally it was getting when I walked through the front door. HVAC workers, electricians, carpenters and telephone men were working busily to meet an obvious Hollywood deadline. They wanted it done yesterday for less money. I walked through the gauntlet of workers down the massive gutted hallway. There were no walls, just metal framing studs with wires running through them. Air conditioning ducts were being installed and workers were everywhere. I got to the only corner in the hall and turned left and there at the end of the hall were the two biggest offices in the building. The offices were the last two to be renovated because someone had special special plans for them. I could only imagine that one was Samuel Goldwyn's and one was Louie B. Mayer's. Really I had no idea but they were about 20' by 20' so they had to belong to someone special at one time. If walls could talk they would say, "Do you know who else besides you and these workers walked down these halls?" And I would have said yes. Paul Newman, Lucille Ball, Charlton Heston,Elvis Presley, Laurel & Hardy, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Lawford, Buster Keaton, Betty Davis, Lionel Barrymore, Jimmy Stewart, Red Skelton and the list goes on and on. Movies like Ben Hur, Rocky, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of OZ, Doctor Zhivago and 2001: A Space Odyssey were all shot there. And here I was getting ready to interview Michael Jackson on a construction site where dreams were made.


I stepped into the office on the left that was our staging area. All of my camera gear was on the left. In the middle of the room there was a big table of food and drink not typical of a film production. It was probably purchased at Gelson's instead of Ralphs. Fresh fruit bowls with big fat strawberries and black berries. Giant muffins of every type. No donuts. I had coffee. The walls were bare and in need of repair. The rooms were secured by the well know Hollywood Producer Steve Ross for his wife Courtney who was producing the film. It was a favor for one power hitter for another. Who the other guy was, I don't know. Just another Hollywood royalty. After I built the camera and loaded the mags with film, I carried it into the next office which was the room where we would shoot. The set had been pre-lit and all we needed was Michael and we could shoot. So we waited. And we waited. Then we waited some more. Someone had brought a stack of magazines and left them on the table. I read People, I read US, I read the newspaper, I read everything. I read the film cans. I read my watch.


The buzz was at an all time low. The producers were on the phone with Michael's people. He wasn't sure if he could make, then he was going to be late, then he couldn't make, then late again. I read the Enquirer. When the phone rang again for the final time, Courtney hung up and said, "He's here." She then asked me if I would go show them the way in since I seemed to be the only one equipped to walk back through the construction site. So, I walked back through the construction site to the front door. I have to admit, I was a little excited.


The cast of the movie read like a Who's Who of R&B legends as well as other film and music legends but this was Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, Jacko and Smelly as Q liked to call him. I didn't know what to expect. I knew he wouldn't be driving a Pinto or wearing jeans but what I didn't expect was him to look just like every photo I had seen of him in recent years. The limo was outside waiting. First the two bodyguards stepped out, then an assistant, then Bubbles the chimp, (Just kidding, no Bubbles the chimp but I half expected it at this point) then out steps Michael wearing every trademark article of clothing that you would expect Michael to be wearing. On his feet he had shiny black leather shoes, tight black pants and the world famous black jacket with all the buckles. He had on a white shirt and a medallion around his neck. On his head he wore the hat you always saw him wear in the 80's and believe it or not, he was wearing a surgical mask. I said to the lead guy, "Follow me and be careful we are walking through some construction." I must not have really been there because the lead guy didn't even acknowledge me but somehow I was the lead dog moving the pack through the construction site. It was loud. There were drills and saws and more drills and hammers. The first worker to notice Michael was standing on ladder with a Makita screw gun in his hand. The drilling stopped. As we walked down the long hall everything stopped one by one until it was completely silent. The workers were dumbfounded. They all had the look of "What the hell is he doing here" on their faces. I looked back at Michael and he seemed uneasy. What the hell was he doing here? He held the mask close to his face with his right hand as the bodyguards huddled around him just in case the guy with the Makita wanted to sink a drywall screw into Michael's head. It was a weird scene.


We got to the office and the entire posse went straight into the other room where we were to shoot and the door closed behind them. The rest of us sat outside the room and waited. Finally the producer comes out and says, "Michael isn't feeling pretty today so he doesn't want to be photographed. He's agreed to an audio interview so Ellen, the director is just going to do that. The construction had started back up by now. They had a deadline to meet. Just when I thought that things couldn't get more bizarre, the director comes out of the room holding a flashlight in one hand and her list of questions in the other and starts looking at her questions. She says, "I can't see a thing in there." Someone suggested that she turn on a light and she says, "Michael won't let me, he insists we do the interview in the dark." So I re read People and US and the newspaper. finally when the interview was over, Michael and his crew bolt out of there as quick as they came in. We packed up the gear and went home. If you ever see this movie you we see all the interviews are done the same way except for Michael's. You never see him on film but you hear his voice. He wasn't feeling pretty.


Today Michael Jackson died of a cardiac arrest. His life was filled with turmoil. Much of it he brought on himself but today is not a day to pass judgment on him for what he may or may not have done. Today is a day to celebrate his great gifts he gave the music world and to let him rest in peace.In death, all is forgiven. Good bye Michael. Rest in Peace.



Edited by Tom Jensen

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No. No. God, no! Not Billy Mays! Anyone but Billy Mays! Worse than taking him from us... You left us behind without him. Life is so cruel.


Here's the home town coverage of his funeral:







To find the video, click and go into browse.

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